Behind the Scenes: Rosé Pinot Noir Photo Debut

Imagery is key when launching a new product and we knew the best person to help capture the essence of Layer Cake’s new Rosé of Pinot Noir: food and lifestyle photographer Matt Armendariz.

We flew down and spent two days in his naturally lit, loft-style photo studio in Long Beach, CA. We were graced with his talent, props, equipment and stylists to help us achieve the perfect shot for our upcoming launch. The goal was to make the wine look as good as it tastes. We succeeded.

Few know just how much it takes to get the perfect shot, especially one as important as this for our new product release. For this, we were extremely grateful to have Matt’s expertise. Once we were happy the the final shot, it was time to bring the ad to life.

That’s when we turned to Zentiv creative agency in Santa Rosa, CA to help the ad jump off the page. You can see our beautiful new ad in the latest editions of Wine Spectator, Food & WineWine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, Sunset and many more. We believe it captures the essence of the wine, and are excited to share it with you all. Cheers.

Wine and Food Pairings for Your Home Brunch

Brunch has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. Between the upscale food and the tasty cocktails, brunch has everything you need to have a truly relaxing weekend. Many restaurants and wineries have started offering special brunch menus on weekend mornings. But sometimes, you don’t feel like going out. For those days that you want the comfort of your own home, but still want a relaxing brunch with friends, we have some brunch hosting tips for you!

Plan a Theme

Every meal is better with a theme, especially when entertaining! Choose a common element to tie your brunch together. You could choose a region-inspired brunch, serving dishes from places like Italy or New Orleans, and picking décor and music to match.

Or maybe you want a food theme! Try a veggie-only brunch, or pick a main entrée dish and choose sides and drinks to match!

Other themes could include colors, time periods, or even pop culture references. The sky is your limit! Choosing a theme makes it easier for everyone to pitch in while still having a cohesive brunch meal. This way your brunch will be a team effort and no one person will have to do all the work. More fun for everyone!

Think about Prep

If you want your brunch to run smoothly, think about the flow of traffic between food prep and food consumption. Prep as much of your meal as possible before your guests arrive. Put baked goods in the oven as your guests arrive, to be enjoyed after your first drinks.

Create a station for light food and drink prep. If you’re looking for maximum convenience, look at these wine tasting centers that store wine bottles, glasses, and have counter-space for drink prep. With drawers to store your bottle opener and silverware, you can make this your brunch supply station and be ready for brunch any time! Some even have room for seating and double as a table!

Pair Fantastic Food with Wonderful Wine

Now for what you’re really here for: the food! Here are some ideas to get you started planning your brunch meal:

  • Flatbread is a great finger food and easy to pair with other dishes. Try some simple herbs, smoked salmon and prosciutto on grilled flatbread. It’d go great with Layer Cake Chardonnay or a crisp, Sauvignon Blanc to balance out the salt in the smoked salmon.
  • Want your brunch to have fresh, homegrown food? Plan ahead and plant a pesto garden! Then all your brunches can have a lovely pesto for pizza, pasta, flatbread, or bruschetta!
  • Pair a French Toast (or as the French call it, Pain Perdu) with a homemade berry jam and the fruity Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Looking to add some whimsy to your meal? Check out this A-Z guide to edible flowers! There are recipes for rose jam, yucca hash, and more! You can even make your own Dandelion Wine as an after-brunch palate cleanser.
  • Stock up on your favorite Champagne or sparkling wine and some fresh citrus juices (orange, grapefruit, tangerine, etc.) for a low-maintenance mimosa bar!
  • Want to give your guests an option with a little zing? Try these Buttermilk and Sharp Cheddar Biscuits with Brown Sugar Cured Ham & Pepper Jelly.

These are just a few fun ideas for your next wine-centric brunch with close friends and family. What’s your favorite brunch pairing? Share in the comments!

Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Jeriann Watkins

Orthodox Turkey

In my family, we have an unwavering Thanksgiving menu, with very little to no variation from one year to the next. We are Thanksgiving purists, strict literalists of the Turkey Day canon: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes. We never bow to the fickle winds of fashion; there are no trendy updates of old favorites, no wacky frying of turkeys in the garage, no sous vide anything. (Christmas, though, is a whole different story. Perhaps I’ll share with you our adventures in turducken and glögg another time.)

Why we couldn’t forget the tired old fruit cocktail just once, I’ll never know, but traditions die slow deaths with my people. We finally dispensed with my great-grandmother’s customary Waldorf salad but continue to serve the mashed turnips that nobody likes because they were my grandfather’s favorite. Which is really lovely in a way, but the man died over thirty-five years ago.

Despite the steady sameness of our menu, somehow the cranberry sauce is always an afterthought. To wit: for three years running, my mother purchased jarred sauce and forgot to put it on the table. This has always felt suspicious to me, considering my mother has the dining room table set a full two weeks ahead of the holiday and the silver is polished and ready for action shortly after Halloween. (Entertaining is Susie’s time to shine and the woman is organized.) But somehow the cranberry sauce always gets ditched.

So here’s to a happy holiday season, to glögg and mashed turnips, to forgotten cranberry sauce and to family. To the people we love, the ones who drive us crazy, who insist on fruit cocktail because that’s how we always do it, who take care of us and make us what we are. Here’s to health and roofs over heads, and to good food and good wine shared in gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!





Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Kate King

Oh, Barcelona

What a beautiful city you are, all windy cobblestone streets and leafy boulevards, beachy breezes and Gaudí serpentine. You make me wish I could tan, turn a glowy caramel brown and whisper you sweet nothings in Catalan. I want to stretch out my days like you do, closing up shop for a languid siesta and sitting down to dinner at ten. And oh, Barcelona, how I love your food. I could have tapas every single day and never want for anything different.

In my pre-trip research, I was surprised to find several travel authorities insisting that Barcelona isn’t really known for its tapas. One has to travel to the Basque regions for pinxtos or up to San Sebastián’s beaches for the real thing, they sniffed. Well, I have no idea what those fools are talking about.

Everywhere we went, all over the city, we found gutsy snack-sized bites, each more flavorful than the last. We discovered amazing tapas in neighborhood joints and cool modern digs, modest mom-and-pops and chic cafés; met a few reverbs of superchef/native son Ferran Adria’s experimental gastronomy and savored rustic, traditional arrangements of the canned delicacies for which Spain is famous.

There were montaditos (snacks “mounted” on baguette) of oil-packed tuna and roasted red pepper, with a dollop of tinned sea urchin on top. Tender, sparkling-fresh squid, seared quickly a la plancha and splashed with fruity olive oil and garlic. Fluffy tortilla, wedges of Spanish omelet. Olives, olives and more olives. All manner of seafood and shellfish: mussels, crayfish, anchovy, langoustines. I fell hard for Catalan-style blood sausage (who knew?) and rekindled an old flame for Padrón peppers and jamón ibérico de bellota, the rich cured pork made from free-roaming Ibérican pigs that root on acorns.

And when we weren’t nibbling on tapas, strolling through shops and markets or wandering idly through neighborhoods, we dug into researching Catalan wines (rough work, truly), finding glittery cavas from the Penedès region; crisp, perfect-for-a-hot-afternoon whites and outstanding, velvety-full grenache (garnatxa) blends. (Oh, and we also went to the beach and museums. Saw Picassos and everything!)

And as all good things must come to an end, with feet weary from miles of walking (and a rather epic last night of dancing), feeling soul-rested and sated, we boarded our plane back home. ‘Til next time, Barcelona. Save me some jamón.

Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Kate King